Kennedy’s Blockchain Plan Is About Openness and Transparency

Kennedy’s Blockchain Plan Is About Openness and Transparency

Adam Garrie | April 25, 2024

By Adam Garrie, The Kennedy Beacon

During a rally in the swing state of Michigan, independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. announced that if he becomes president he would put the entire U.S budget on blockchain “so that,” he said “any American — every American can look at every budget item in the entire budget anytime they want 24 hours a day.”

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Kennedy added, “We’re gonna have 300 million eyeballs on our budget, and if somebody is spending $16,000 for a toilet seat, everybody’s gonna know about it.” Kennedy’s remark is a reference to a 2018 story exposing a decision by the Air Force to replace toilet seat covers for cargo aircraft at the cost of $10,000 a piece.

Kennedy’s blockchain budget proposal might sound futuristic, but it is actually a common sense proposal rooted in the candidate’s mission to bring honesty and transparency to politics.

What is blockchain?

In the realm of financial transactions, blockchain serves as an immutable ledger, preserving all transactions indefinitely. The information is decentralized, stored across multiple storage devices linked via a peer-to-peer network.

In practical terms, this has several advantages over traditional data storage methods. The first is that it is not reliant on a single set of servers or traditional cloud infrastructure. This guards blockchain against hacking or fatal malfunctions.

The second advantage is that each unique transaction record cannot be altered or deleted. This is why blockchain has become a popular way to store data relating to financial transactions, particularly those involving a cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin. Once data is recorded on a blockchain, neither the human hand nor technological crises can erase the data.

Blockchain’s documentation of financial activities has been instrumental in building confidence in cryptocurrency for millions of people worldwide. This has played a key role in the growing popularity of cryptocurrency as a storer of wealth as well as a means of exchange for everyday transactions.

What is a blockchain budget?

A federal budget recorded on the blockchain is likely to be less expensive than the present arcane methods of record keeping that plague Washington. Last summer, the Pentagon admitted that an accounting “error” caused the Defense Department to overestimate the value of weapons sent to Ukraine over a two-year period by a staggering $6.2 billion.

This problem of poor financial record keeping in Washington is not new. On September 10, 2001, the then Defense Secretary Donald Runsfeld told reporters, “Our financial systems are decades old. According to some estimates, we cannot track 2.3 trillion dollars in transactions. We cannot share information from floor to floor in this building. Because it’s stored on dozens of different technological systems that are inaccessible or incompatible.”

Blockchain ledgers for the federal budget would prevent records from getting “lost” in the mire because blockchain provides a clear record of every transaction, whether this is spending or inflow.

Democratizing the budget

In addition to streamlining Byzantine accounting systems and saving taxpayer money in the process, a blockchain budget would allow for transparent public scrutiny of what the government is doing with tax dollars in real time. Kennedy’s proposals would give the public an easy-to- understand view of governmental transactions on the blockchain which would give citizens and watchdog groups direct access to data on overspending, imprudent government programs, pork barrel projects and instances of corruption in areas ranging from domestic subsidies to foreign aid.

Such transparency would likely force both the legislative branch and agencies controlled by the executive to think twice before engaging in reckless spending during a time of excessive national debt and perpetual inflation.

A blockchain system could also be easily used to record and track the budgets of state and municipal governments.

A modest proposal

While many Americans have heard the word “blockchain,” many confuse it with cryptocurrency or central bank digital currencies (CBDCs). These are three distinct concepts that utilize blockchain but they are no more related than dogs, mice or humans.

Cryptocurrencies use blockchain to preserve the integrity of private transactions. CBDCs would use elements of blockchain technology to track the purchases of Americans. In contrast, Kennedy’s proposal is about openness and transparency. A federal blockchain budget would blow away the cobwebs and let people see what the government is up to when few are looking.

While high-tech in its design, Kennedy’s proposal is rooted in common sense and democratic accountability.

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